If you have diabetes and are unable to work because of the effects of the disease, you might qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, because of changes the Social Security Administration (SSA) made in 2011 regarding the way it reviews disability applications for individuals with diabetes, you could find it difficult to prove that you should receive disability benefits.
Specifically, in June 2011, the SSA eliminated endocrine disorders from the listing of impairments it uses to evaluate disability claims. Diabetes was one of the conditions listed under that medical category.
Because one of the steps in the SSA’s application review process involves determining whether a condition meets a medical listing, you will need to show that your diabetes is severe enough that it has affected another body system and that you thus meet the requirements of another medical listing.
For example, if your diabetes has led to peripheral neuropathy, you might meet the medical listing for peripheral neuropathy. Or, if you have had an amputation, loss of vision, a vascular disease, or kidney failure, your application can be evaluated under the medical listings that pertain to those body systems.
You will need to show that your diabetes has affected what is referred to as your “residual functional capacity” (RFC), which is your ability to do any job that you have done in the past fifteen years or any job that you are qualified to do, given your age, education, and work history.
Be sure to include all of your illnesses and medical conditions when you apply—even if you believe they are repetitive. If your diabetes causes you to suffer from skin ulcerations and diabetic neuropathy, write down all three conditions.
Ask your doctor to document all of your symptoms and any health problems you have related to your diabetes. Ask your doctor to fill out the forms that ask for details about how your medical condition actually limits you day to day and in connection with the demands of work. These forms, also called the “Ability to Do Work-related Activity” forms, allow your doctor to document what he or she believes are your limitations from your diabetes and associated disabilities.
If you are denied, don’t give up. If you are unable to work because of diabetes, you can get SSDI benefits from Social Security. Learn more in our book 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim or contact the Massachusetts disability lawyers at Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.